We continue with our short series of teachings by Hazrat Inayat Khan on the subject of faith, as he shows us that our faith can make even a robber trustworthy. The previous post in the series may be found here.
One person may doubt and doubt; one moment he believes that things will come right, and then he fears that perhaps they will not. Another person will trust, and he will be watching, and his trust will become bigger with every experience.
There is a story of a Sufi who was travelling with a caravan through Arabia. Among the travellers were some who had money with them for their expenses. They came to a place where it was said that robbers were likely to be and that everybody should take care of his own purse, as many caravans had been robbed in that area. This young Sufi also had some money, but he thought to himself, ‘I have no place to keep my money. I will find some man with whom I can leave it. To whom can I give it for safety?’ He was wondering if there could be any village or habitation, but could only see a tent some distance away from where the caravan had come to a halt.
So he went and found a man sitting, smoking his pipe in the tent. He went up to him and said, ‘I do not know you, sir, but I have heard there are robbers here, and that many caravans have been robbed, and I am a poor man. I thought I should protect my money, if I could only find someone to whom I could trust it. Having found this tent, I feel I should entrust it to you.’ He left the purse, and returned to the caravan. When he arrived, he found that the caravan had been robbed, and all had lost their money. He was very glad he had escaped. They were all moaning and lamenting about their losses. He thought that he, at any rate, was safe. Then they described the robbers, saying how many of them had come, how many had been there.
He returned to the tent to fetch his money again. He found the same man smoking there, but he was surrounded by many men, for he proved to be the chief of the robbers. The others were all sitting there, fighting and disputing what share each should take, and the chief was helping them to divide their spoil. So the young man was afraid to go nearer; and at the same time could not help thinking how foolish he was, not to have kept his money, for while he was bringing it, the robbers had come, and so he would have escaped anyway. The others had lost everything, but he had fooled himself.
While he was thinking this, and was about to turn away, the chief called out for him to be fetched. He approached the chief trembling, because he believed that now, even his life was in danger. The chief said, ‘Why did you come here; why are you turning back?’ The young man asked, ‘Are you not the head of the robbers? Then why should I not wish to go? What use can it be to come?’ The chief answered, ‘Man, I received your money to keep; I did not rob you of it. You trusted me. The money is therefore in my trust. Even if I am a robber, I am not dishonest. I gain by robbery, not by breaking trust. You trusted me with your money, and your money is safe. Here it is for you to take back again.’ So the young man was delighted, reflecting what a good thing trust is, inasmuch as one may have faith even in a robber, for he had proved himself trustworthy.
We can see this in our everyday life. A servant, a helper, an assistant, a co-worker, a partner, can be made either trustful or distrustful, trustworthy or unworthy of trust; this we do ourselves by our own faith. How true it is that when faith is beginning to fail, when doubts begin to come, the loss of faith goes on until a person begins to doubt his nearest and dearest friends. Husband can doubt wife; wife can doubt husband; brother can doubt sister; parents can doubt children. One can doubt one’s nearest friend, and in the end one doubts oneself. That is the utmost limit; from then on life can be nothing less than torture.
To be continued…